Tracker review: Fitbit One

I’m not going to lie, I love my Fitbit One. I’ve had it since May of 2013, it’s survived a trip through the washer, several very wet runs and lots and lots of sweat. It is the bar by which I measure all other fitness trackers.

The controls are both minimal and simple, the fact that it does not reside on my wrist means that I’m not getting a lot of false positive steps from extraneous arm movement, and most importantly to me is that they have a well documented open API. Almost every other fitness site or app can pull data from and update Fitbit’s data. So no double entry if you’re tracking your food through MyFitnessPal, your running through Runtastic or Runkeeper, or you’re trying to earn free stuff through places like Everymove or Achievemint. Because all of these can interface with Fitbit, that allows it to be kind of the hub. You track a run in Runkeeper, it updates Fitbit, MyFitnessPal syncs your food to Fitbit and sees that you’ve added a run so it adds that to its information as well. Easy peasy, right?

And while I do appreciate the fact that I can sync my device to my computer without the need of a smartphone, I don’t like that I have to use their little bluetooth dongle to do so. With the target demographic of the Fitbit, the chances of them not having a computer that doesn’t have bluetooth is almost nil. Give me the option of using the built-in bluetooth of my laptop, especially since the adapter is very small and easily lost. (Seriously, I lost mine for about 6 months before I found it attached to some random USB hub that I forgot I had.)

One thing that all of these trackers claim to do is sleep tracking. Let’s be very clear here, these devices are monitoring your movement and making best-guess judgement calls on what your quality of sleep is. It’s kind of like web statistics. Minimal inputs + mystical arbitrary calculations = sleep quality. As you can probably guess, I’m not a fan. In addition to this, due to the form factor of the One, you have to slip the device into a velcro sleeve that you wrap around your wrist before you go to bed, then put the device into an “activity” mode. I think I used this functionality for about a week before I quit bothering.

Pros: Simple to use, long battery life, minimal false positive steps from form factor, open API, talks to most common apps and websites.

Cons: Easy to lose, proprietary bluetooth adapter for PC/Mac syncing, proprietary charging cable

Mehs: Sleep tracking is somewhat arbitrary, as is the active minutes calculations